1997-07-01

Atacama Desert Trek: A Planetary Analog Field Experiment 972487

Nomad, a planetary-relevant mobile robot, is chartered to traverse 200 kilometers across the Atacama Desert in Chile, exploring a landscape analogous to the surfaces of the Moon and Mars. Operating both autonomously and under the control of operators thousands of kilometers away, Nomad and the Desert Trek address issues of robotic configuration, communications, position estimation and navigation in rugged, natural terrain. The field experiment also serves as a testing ground for remote geological investigation, paving the way for new exploration strategies on Earth and beyond. Finally, by combining safeguarded teleoperation with onboard panoramic visualization and a novel user interface, the Atacama Desert Trek provides the general public an unforgettable interactive experience and its first opportunity to remotely drive an exploratory robot.
An unprecedented demonstration, the Atacama Desert Trek sets a new benchmark in high performance robotics operations relevant to terrestrial and planetary exploration.

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